Two detention officers with the Whitfield County, Georgia, Sheriff's Office have resigned after they repeatedly struck a handcuffed man who was being booked into the jail.
On April 14, Aaron Pass was arrested and booked on charges of simple battery and trespassing. During the COVID-19 questionnaire and pat-down, detention officer Nathanael Styles asked Pass if he had anything on him that could poke, stab or harm the booking staff. Pass said the staff "could find out about everything" that was on him during the pat-down, according to an incident report from the sheriff's office.
Around that time, shift commander Orlando Almon came to help Styles with the pat-down. Pass then became "belligerent and aggressive" toward the officers, the report states.
Styles and Almon tried to calm Pass down but couldn't immediately, the report states. Then, Pass told Almon to take his face mask down "multiple times" but Almon refused. During this interaction, Pass blew Almon a kiss, the report states. Styles thought Pass had spit on Almon so he then "placed (Pass) on the counter to gain compliance," according to the incident report. Pass was then escorted to a padded cell.
Pass was given verbal commands to go to the ground but he refused. Styles and Almon then performed a "leg sweep" to try and get him down, but that didn't work, according to the report. Sgt. James Brown, who came to help, then "pulled up" on Pass' legs, which caused him to fold at the waist.
Styles, according to the report, thought Pass was actively resisting so he hit Pass multiple times in the side to get him to cooperate. Almon then told Pass to stop resisting and hit him in the left side of the head nine times, according to the report.
The report states Almon decided to hit Pass' head "since that was the only part of Pass' body " he was able to "strike to gain compliance."
After he hit Pass nine times, Almon stripped off Pass' sweatpants and threw them out of the cell to be checked later because they were only able to pat Pass down once.
About a half-hour later, Pass was asked if he needed to see the medical staff and he did not respond, according to the incident report.
Capt. Paul Woods with the Whitfield County Sheriff's Office confirmed both Almon and Styles have resigned and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation is looking into the incident.
Woods said Pass is no longer incarcerated.
Brian Johnston with the GBI confirmed the bureau is investigating the uses of force.
"We can confirm that the GBI Calhoun Regional Office is working a use-of-force case at the request of the Whitfield County Sheriff's Office," Johnston said in an email Monday. "The investigation is active and ongoing."
Contact Patrick Filbin at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6476. Follow him on Twitter @PatrickFilbin.